×

China’s Web Series, Online Films Required to Register, Report Actor Fees

Most web series and online films in China must register with the government and report their budgets and actor salaries starting from this Friday, the country’s media watchdog has decreed, in a further tightening of official oversight of the entertainment sector amid an uproar over talent pay.

All live-action and animated series intended for online distribution with budgets of more than RMB5 million ($740,000) and all online movies with budgets exceeding RMB1 million ($148,000) must now register and pass approval twice before they are disseminated to viewers, China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) declared in a December directive posted Wednesday to its official website. Companies must report their project’s title, genre, content and budget before production begins, and provide an update on information including actual expenses and actor pay after completion. The new regulation goes into effect Friday.

Nearly all substantive online content projects will be affected since the budget cutoffs are quite low. Even mediocre web series cost about RMB1 million to create, a Beijing-based production company associate told the Global Times newspaper.

The measure is a follow-up to regulations on tax payments and actor salaries released last year, and shows that Chinese authorities are policing online content with equal attention as traditional TV and film production.

In the wake of last year’s tax-evasion scandal involving superstar Fan Bingbing, authorities set a cap on actor salaries, stating that talent fees cannot exceed 40% of a project’s total production costs and that leading stars cannot be paid more than 70% of a work’s budget for talent. Fan had been slammed for the widespread practice of using “yin-yang contracts,” in which only the smaller of two contracts drawn up for the same work is reported to the tax authorities as income.

The new regulation on web content is part of China’s growing effort to crack down on skyrocketing celeb fees. “Government regulation will re-balance the market that has been troubled by star worship over artistic appreciation,” the Global Times cited an industry insider as saying, though he stressed that it would take a long time before yin-yang contracts were actually be stamped out.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • AI Technology David Beckham

    How AI Tech Is Changing Dubbing, Making Stars Like David Beckham Multilingual

    David Beckham does not speak Arabic, Hindi or Mandarin. But when the soccer legend starred in a PSA for malaria awareness this spring, he effortlessly switched among these and six other languages, thanks to cutting-edge technology that could soon change how Hollywood localizes its movies and TV shows. The PSA in question was produced with technology [...]

  • Adam Driver appears in The Report

    'The Report' Trailer: Adam Driver Investigates Post-9/11 Interrogation Tactics

    Adam Driver is in pursuit of the truth in Amazon Studio’s first look at “The Report,” a tense political drama about the CIA’s use of torture. The film focuses on Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Driver), who begins to investigate the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, a group created in the aftermath of 9/11. As he [...]

  • Fox Searchlight Buys 'The Personal History

    Fox Searchlight Buys 'The Personal History of David Copperfield'

    Fox Searchlight has acquired North American rights to “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” Armando Iannucci’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel of the same name. The deal comes in advance of the film’s Toronto International Film Festival bow on Sept. 5, as well as its BFI London Film Festival premiere on Oct. 2. The studio [...]

  • on day 3 of the London

    Barbara Broccoli, Richard Curtis, Passion Pictures Team on Paralympics Documentary

    Oscar-winning British production company Passion Pictures is teaming up with James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and filmmaker Richard Curtis on a new feature documentary about the Paralympic Games. The project, currently titled “Harder Than You Think,” brings together Passion’s John Battsek with producer Greg Nugent of HTYT Films, with Broccoli and Curtis both serving as [...]

  • Tribeca Film Insitute's PitchNY Program Now

    Tribeca Film Institute's PitchNY Program Kicks Off (EXCLUSIVE)

    College students and recent alumni in New York can apply to the 4th annual PitchNY program, an effort to help young, diverse directors, producers and writers fine-tune their pitching skills, as well as to connect them with entertainment industry professionals who will serve as mentors. On Thursday, Tribeca Film Institute, The New York State Governor’s [...]

  • La-camarista

    ‘The Chambermaid’ Cleans Up in the U.S.

    SANTIAGO, Chile — Call it the “Roma” effect but Mexican newcomer Lila Aviles’ engaging portrait of a hotel servant, “The Chambermaid” (“La Camarista”) has found outstanding reception in the U.S. and in multiple territories, giving hope to other arthouse films from Latin America and elsewhere that seek distribution in “fortress America.” “‘Roma’ was a beautiful, brawny and [...]

  • Beograd 20.03.2012 Milutin Petrovic, reditelj, scenarista,

    Lost Script by ABC Studios Editor Turned Into Movie and Series 'Bad Blood'

    An ambitious new Serbian feature film and 10-part television series set in the Ottoman Empire of the 19th century has emerged from a long lost script by a former editor at ABC Studios in New York City. Belgrade-based This and That Productions is producing “Bad Blood,” based on the works of renowned Serbian writer Borisav [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content